Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back from Carleton, graduated!

Again, it's been a long time since I wrote last time. I've been struggling with writing my extensive Canada diaries in Turkish. So I couldn't write even a word here. I talked about my exchange plans and my final project. Our final project was a late success. It was late because at the first sight, we thought it was unsuccessful. But then I found out that it is indeed successful. We managed to get an error rate of 2.25% after we applied PCA on the channels.

Before finishing the project, I went to Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada. It was the 1st of January and -13*C when I got there. The weather was terrible going down to felt like -32*C. I stayed in the dorms of the university and I liked Carleton except for its dorms with cartoon-seperated walls. The system in university was both similar to and different from Işık University. In the first days, I found it difficult to talk and understand what I hear but after 3 weeks, I got used to it. Lecturers were great and they did their best to make us understand the material. They were welcoming to any kind of problem we faced preventing our studies (I would especially thank Julie Thorpe. She was the greatest instructor I've ever seen in my university life.). They were relax and I saw a nice learning / research environment.

University also provides great facilities to the students. There are over 120 student clubs and they are very active. I should admit that only Computer Society was a bit passive. They organized “Eclipse plug-in development seminar”, a faculty-student meeting, and some movie nights. That might be normal for 4 months but I get this result when I compare it with our club in Turkey.

Of course, I have to talk about Canadian People. They are very kind, respectful, trustworthy and helpful. But they won't talk first unless you start a chat. They are mostly busy people and rush all the day. But the foreigner people are more warm and welcoming. Because of that, most of my friends were non-Canadians.

Ottawa is a really pleasant city. I returned back to Turkey at the end of the April, when the best times of Ottawa had just been starting. It has a wonderful nature. Parks, green fields, waterfalls, bike paths of total 110 km... It is also very safe compared to Toronto. People, even women are not afraid to walk in the late hours of the night. Transportation is very easy. I also visited Toronto (and of course Niagara Falls) but I didn't like Toronto that much. It seems a bit dangerous.

I've been in Canada for 4 months and it was a great experience for me. Living on your own, without anybody you know to help, being obliged to speak only in English, seeing different cultures (Canada is a real mixture of cultures), meeting people from all over the world and of course examining the academic life there. I wanted to apply for Master of Computer Science in Carleton but the envelope carrying my reference letter had been opened by DHL on the way! A note was posted on the package: “This package has been inspected under the supervision of the shipper.”. Shipper seems to be the local carrier company, not my professor! So I could not apply for the masters program. Maybe I might try it later.

Among the other applications I've made, I've been admitted to Master of Artificial Intelligence program in Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. I've been put in waitlist of Purdue University, USA but then rejected because of the limited quota. And finally Sweden central placement system has lost my documents so I was rejected as they said “you haven't finished university, you haven't taken Algebra and Programming courses...”!

Returning back to Turkey, I graduated and I applied for Master of Computer Engineering in Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. Now I'm between KUL and Boğaziçi. KUL will be more costly for me and recently we're facing liquidity problems. So it seems my next university will be Boğaziçi.